Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) will open this summer and be embedded in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. The opening will occur months ahead of the November effective date established by the City Council law that originally created the office. The new office will coordinate responses to hate crimes across City agencies, including the NYPD, City Commission on Human Rights, Department of Education, Department of Probation, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and District Attorney’s Offices, taking a holistic approach to preventing hate crimes, developing and coordinating community-driven prevention strategies to address biases fueling crimes, and fostering reconciliation and healing for victims.
The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will also support NYPD training, launch support programs for victims, improve coordination on hate crime reporting and work with affected groups to make sure victims come forward.
“In New York City, we celebrate and uphold our differences and reject any attempt to hate or divide,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will work to root out hate and make our streets safer, which is why we’re moving up the timeline and opening the office months ahead of schedule. We will never stand idly by while our fellow New Yorkers are targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other quality that makes them who they are.”
“Celebrating our differences is not only what makes our city vibrant, but also what makes our city safe. By bringing together expertise from City agencies that work every day to promote the wellbeing of New Yorkers, the new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will bolster our commitment to keeping New York City the safest and fairest big city for all residents and visitors,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
“The New York City Commission on Human Rights is proud to enforce one of the strongest human rights laws in the nation which prohibits discrimination and harassment in nearly all areas of city living,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “The Commission’s bias response team is on the ground across the city working to combat discrimination, respond to bias incidents, and provide support, resources, and education to impacted communities. The creation of the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will allow the Commission to coordinate closely with our agency partners, share information efficiently, and confront bias incidents, discrimination, and hate crimes as one city united.”
Most recent data from NYPD shows that hate crime incidents in the City have increased by 64 percent since last year. 60 percent of those incidents were anti-Semitic hate crimes. Arrests for hate crimes have also increased this year.
The new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will be strategic in using non-law enforcement deterrence, including investing in public education campaigns, outreach and community safety models and preventative best practices. It will also develop responses for when hate crimes occur, including developing diversion programs and other strategies so that the NYPD, District Attorney’s Offices, defenders and judges have options beyond arrest and prosecution to deal with hate crime perpetrators.
The new OPHC will also support NYPD training and other responses that address the concerns of LGBTQ, immigrant and other groups to help improve the reporting of hate crimes; develop support programs for victims and reconciliation programs; enhance data collection and sharing with the NYPD, District Attorney’s Offices’ hate crimes units, and other partners; and strengthen relationships among victims and law enforcement to enhance criminal justice outcomes and processes for victims.
The new OPHC will issue annual public reports on hate crime prevention once the Steering Council for the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes is launched this summer.